Once again, this weekend’s action was nonstop and exciting. There were too many starts to count as Keeneland, Santa Anita, and Belmont Park all had outstanding cards. It was hard to narrow it down to just three after watching so many graded stakes races over the period of Friday – Sunday. Let’s find out who made this week’s list:
1. Next Shares
Huge prices highlighted opening weekend at Keeneland, including a big upset in their featured Grade 1 Shadwell Turf Mile on Saturday. Several heavy hitters were entered in the race, which was considered a major Breeders’ Cup Mile prep event. In the end, Next Shares at odds of 23/1 got a great ride by Tyler Gaffalione to win the race. He sat the perfect pocket trip for much of the race while never having to leave the rail as he snuck through on the inside down the stretch. The final margin of victory was an impressive 3 1/4 lengths, which leads us to believe that he could make an impact in the Breeders’ Cup Mile on November 3 at Churchill Downs. The win pushed his career earnings past the million-dollar mark.
2. Roy H
The champ is back! It has been an up-and-down year for the defending Breeders’ Cup Sprint winner this season. On Saturday in the Grade 1 Santa Anita Sprint Championship, he showed that he is still the boss sprinter in California. After stalking the early pace, Roy H simply took over at the top of the stretch and pulled away for an easy 2 3/4-length victory under mild urging. This race sets him up perfectly for a try at back-to-back Breeders’ Cup Sprint wins. However, the competition will once again be very competitive, which means he will have to bring his “A game” to get the job done yet again.
3. Fourstar Crook
It was great to see this sensational mare become a Grade 1 winner in the Flower Bowl Stakes at Belmont Park. As normal, Fourstar Crook found her position in the back of the pack while watching fractions in front of her that were not all that fast. Rounding the far turn, she commenced a rally while her stablemate Onthemoonagain took the lead. Without much urging at all, Fourstar Crook was able to fly right past her, though, to win the race by 2 lengths. The Flower Bowl was a Breeders’ Cup “Win and You’re In” for the Maker’s Mark Filly & Mare Turf, which means that Fourstar Crook will be matching up once again with her stablemate Sistercharlie in four weeks at Churchill Downs.